Image courtesy Flickr user Nicholas Eckhart.

The Roundup

No, Hobby Lobby is Not Closing All of its Stores

• By

Posted 01.28.14

Hobby Lobby officials would like to dispel a rumor that they’re closing all 500+ of their stores because Obamacare, according to MLive, a Michigan-based media group.

The rumors started circulating (again) last week after sites like GOP The Daily Dose and Tea Party Crusaders republished an OpEd by Hobby Lobby CEO David Green, originally published in USA Today in September of 2012, before his company filed a lawsuit that would exempt it from providing birth control to its employees via health insurance, a mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

The original OpEd was titled “Christian companies can’t bow to sinful mandate,” but it was later republished on conservative news sites under the banner “Hobby Lobby May Close All 500+ Stores in 41 States.” The latter version was the one that recirculated on social media last week.

Rather than closing stores, Hobby Lobby is opening new ones, according to MLive. Hobby Lobby spokesman Vincent Parker told the site the company is “is opening 36 stores this year and as many as 60 stores in 2014.” From MLive:

Parker said rumors that the company would close its stores because of Obamacare have been circulating for about a year.

“Any help you can give in dispelling this rumor would be greatly appreciated,” Parker wrote in the email.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided late last year to hear Hobby Lobby’s case. Now Congress is getting involved, according to The Hill. “Nearly three dozen members of the House and Senate are attaching their names to formal amicus or ‘friend of the court’ briefs before the justices hear arguments in the case next month,” the site reported today. More:

On Tuesday, 15 Republican members of the Senate and House filed a formal brief arguing that the contraception mandate violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). …

Meanwhile, a group of 19 Senate Democrats led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Tuesday they would file their own brief contending that the RFRA never intended to extend “free-exercise” rights to for-profit companies.

“What’s at stake in this case before the Supreme Court is whether a CEO’s personal beliefs can trump a woman’s right to access free or low-cost contraception under the Affordable Care Act,” Murray said in remarks prepared for a speech Tuesday on the Senate floor.
The court has scheduled arguments in the case for March 25.